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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know what the correct term is for mountain biking, but in motorcycling, the term for the problem I've been having on the trails with my new bike is head shake. Basically when I'm coming down a gradual hill (doesn't have to be steep at all), the front wheel seems like it's jumping around between ruts and causing the bars to really shake back and forth. It feels like I could be going so much faster, but I'm constantly squeezing the brakes so I don't end up in a full on tankslapper.

I'm pretty new to all of this, so it could just be my severe lack of experience. I thought there might be a trick or two that I haven't picked up on yet to combat this.
 

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Do you have a suspension fork? What sort of bike do you ride?

You're going to get a fair amount of feedback from trail features...but this can be a good thing, since it allows you to feel the trail beneath you. Suspension forks help absorb some of this chatter, as does frame geometry. XC frames have steeper head tube angles than freeride or downhill bikes, so they can be "twitchier", but they are also more responsive for slow-speed maneuvering on tight trails.

When it gets bumpy and rutted, loosen up your grip (a death grip will rattle your brains out), and absorb a lot of the twitching with your arms, which should be slightly bent.

Just out of curiosity, what is the proper technique in motocross?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I have a Dart 1 on my Forge Sawback. I know it's just an entry level fork, but I'm definitely doing entry level riding for now. :) I do have it set to the hardest setting (advice from this forum), so maybe I'll back it down a little bit. It does seem a little stiff for my weight.

Sorry for the confusion, when I said motorcycles, I meant road bikes. :) Anyway, the proper technique when encountering headshake there is to basically ride it out, don't touch the front brake, and even give it some throttle to take weight off of the front end if you can. Any additional weight transfer to the front is more likely to cause it to get worse.
 

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What is your tire psi? If you ride trials with a lot of roots, high pressure in the front tire can make it bounce around a lot. When I ride rooty trails I put about 35psi in the front tire. Even 5psi up to 40 will make it hard to ride a trail with roots.

Also if you are a heavier rider and you are using a lower end fork, you may find the rebound is very high or even non-existent. That will give you a lot of push back and it will feel very bouncy.
 

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I'm riding on 50 psi. I didn't even think about that... I figured I'd keep it a little high for when I rode around the neighborhood, but I thought it would be plenty low enough for the trails.

I wouldn't say the trails I ride are rooty. They're somewhat rutty, though.

I definitely don't think I'm too heavy for the fork. I'm only 145 lbs. :)

I'm gonna try keeping my arms and hands more loose on the bars, a touch softer fork preload, and a slightly lower tire pressure. Thanks for the help.
 

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MikeP said:
Yes, I have a Dart 1 on my Forge Sawback. I know it's just an entry level fork, but I'm definitely doing entry level riding for now. :) I do have it set to the hardest setting (advice from this forum), so maybe I'll back it down a little bit. It does seem a little stiff for my weight.

Sorry for the confusion, when I said motorcycles, I meant road bikes. :) Anyway, the proper technique when encountering headshake there is to basically ride it out, don't touch the front brake, and even give it some throttle to take weight off of the front end if you can. Any additional weight transfer to the front is more likely to cause it to get worse.
Rule of thumb: if the fork does not bottom out once and a great while it is not being used. Check the dust on the stanchions for travel usage. Also keep your hand grip lite.
 

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im 200lbs and run 25-28psi front and back.. ive never pinch flatted, ever. been riding since i was 10 (25 now).

the dart is super stiff. .i cant imagine why someone said to run it even stiffer? i had to swap the spring out on my girlfriends dart2 to the softest one, and its still not really soft or plush. the stock spring was too stiff even for me. turn that thing down as much as possible, its too stiff as-is!
 
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